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The Tandem language learning program Tandem.MINT offers students of STEM disciplines (Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Math) an individual and specialized approach to expand their foreign language skills. Working together with a tandem partner from a similar field of study, you can test and improve your subject-specific as well as your general language proficiency and skills in intercultural communication.
Tandem.MINT is a cooperation between the engineering departments and the University Language Center (ZFA).

What is Tandem Language Learning about?

The best way to learn a foreign language is to speak it. In a language course, the individual time for each participant to practice speaking is often not enough in addition to a lack of realistic speaking scenarios. In a language tandem, you learn a foreign language in exchange with a tandem partner who is a native speaker of your target language or speaks it at a similarly high level - in return, you support your tandem partner in learning your own native language or source language. By interacting with a native speaker who is in the same situation as you, you lower your inhibitions about actually speaking in the foreign language. Since you are in a one-to-one situation with your tandem partner, a learning situation with a high level of linguistic interaction is created in which you can practice oral interactions especially well. Different from a language course, you and your partner can decide for yourselves which skills you want to improve specifically, what you want to focus on, which materials you want to use, and how you want to proceed. Learning in a tandem is based on the individual goals and resources of both tandem partners. There is no textbook or syllabus, you can freely decide which topics you are interested in and what you want to work on. Through mutual feedback, which is missing in regular everyday conversations, you can thus work specifically on individual difficulties.

What is special about Tandem.MINT?

In Tandem.MINT you can test and expand your subject-specific foreign language proficiency as well as your skills in intercultural communication. The fact that your tandem partner is also studying a STEM subject makes it easier to pursue a specialized focus and work with materials and topics relevant to your studies. This way you can learn technical terms, practice describing STEM specific topics and processes or advance your writing skills for specialized texts (e.g. lab reports or papers) in the foreign language. This gives you the opportunity to train your language competence beyond everyday communication by acquiring a technical vocabulary.

How do I benefit from participating?

In the tandem, you improve the foreign language with a hands-on approach and in an authentic, social context. This way you will become more confident in speaking the language in everyday life and in academia. Besides advancing your language skills, you will get to know international students from similar fields of study and can enhance your intercultural competence.
The tandem can therefore be useful to prepare you for a (study-related) stay abroad. Moreover, you can practice working together in multilingual and multicultural teams and acquire transferable skills for an increasingly globalized working environment in the sector of engineering and natural sciences.

In addition to our existing cooperation with Virginia Tech, we are currently working on establishing further cooperations with international universities. This way we can offer more students the chance to participate in our program. You will also benefit from networking across borders and universities.

What are the prerequisites for participation?

  • enrollment at Ruhr-Universität Bochum or a partner university/institution as a student in (or graduate of) one of the natural sciences, medicine or engineering disciplines
  • proficiency in the target language: at least level B1 (CEFR)

          [for typologically distant languages (e.g. Arabic, Chinese, Russian): level A2]

  • proficiency in the primary language: native speaker or at least level C1 (CEFR)
  • German or English needs to be either the native / primary language or the target language

Can I obtain credit points?

You can choose between a certificate version and a CP version of the program. For the certificate version you will receive a certificate of participation at the end of the semester after successfully completing the program by fulfilling the requirements (see current semester). If you want to obtain credit points, it is possible to complete Tandem.MINT as a module with 3 or 5 CP (CP version). However, it depends on the regulations specific to your subject, your degree program and/or the decision of the department.


Julia Salzinger

IC 03/525
Tel.: +49 (0)234 / 32-26971

Office hour: by arrangement